FORD RACING SAVE MART/KRAGEN 350 QUALIFYING June 25, 1999 Sears Point Raceway RUSTY WALLACE...
FORD RACING SAVE MART/KRAGEN 350 QUALIFYING June 25, 1999 Sears Point Raceway RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "That was a good lap. I'm real happy with it. We ran something like a 1:12.09. I know that doesn't mean a great deal to the race fan, but we deal in seconds instead of miles per hour. Then in qualifying we ran an 11.4 so we picked up a half a second. I really thought the car was going to do that, and it did it." HOW ARE YOU FEELING AFTER LAST WEEK? "A lot of people are asking that question, and I tell you I can't believe how hard I hit that wall and walked away from it. And I don't even have a bruise on me. I got a look at the inside of the car and the safety devices we've been having for a long time, and it held up well for me. The way the seat belts are, all the safety stuff Simpson does for me. When you drive head on into a wall at 200. It was a glancing blow, but still I hit it at 200, and I walked away from it. I got in the plane and flew the plane home. I woke up Monday, and my shoulder was just a little bit sore, but other than that no problems."
MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- "It was a real good lap. I'm real pleased with it. The Valvoline/Cummins team gave me a real good racecar this weekend, and I didn't want to mess it up by trying too hard. Having the car sit on the racetrack takes away one- percent of your focus and concentration. I had one corner, the next to the last one; I wasn't exactly pleased with. And then coming down into this corner I looked across to see if he (Elliott Sadler, who lost a transmission) was still there and he was. Then I didn't get through here like I had been. That was my fault. But golly it's going to be a good starting spot. It's going to beat having to go second round like we did last year. I'm happy with it. It was unfortunate there was a car setting there, but it is fortunate they let me make my run because if they had waved me off after that I wouldn't have had a chance because I already had heat in my tires. And so I was hoping when I came around the first time and saw him there, that NASCAR would let me make my run. I lost my focus just a little bit down there."
JERRY NADEAU -9- Cartoon Network Taurus -- "That's a pretty good lap. I don't know if it's good enough for the pole. The guys did a good job. I screwed up. I screwed up coming into the hairpin. The rear tires got locked up real bad, and the car bounced real bad getting into the hairpin. We lost at least a 10th or two there. But the guys did a good job, and we're just looking for a good weekend. We don't want what happened here last year. We want to have a good weekend here."
RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- "We didn't lock the brakes up. We spent so much time working on brakes, but you know you come out here. Generally you come out here, and you don't have any problem. I was really surprised we fought it like we did. We need to start working on the chassis. We have a good bit of speed left in the car. It's pushing too much going into the corners. We need to get the front to bit. But that's the first time I made it around the track without smoking the brakes. So we are gaining on it." HOW MUCH FUN IS IT WHEN YOU HIT THE RYTHM JUST RIGHT ON A ROAD COURSE? "When the car is driving like you want it to drive, and stopping when you want it to stop, it is a rhythm situation especially when you get the car swinging up through the esses - you swing it one way. Then you swing it the other. What's good is when you have a car hang out just the right amount. You want the backend in a little bit of a yaw situation. When you've got a car that does what you want, it's a lot of fun to race here. If you hit every corner just right, it's good. You can miss a corner by a half a second, not just a little bit. If you come in the corner and smoke the brakes, lock the brakes up it won't just be one tenth or one one hundredth. You'll slow down half a second, three quarters of a second. In qualifying you just can't make that back up. In the race everyone can make a mistake. Everybody is doing the same. The one with the least amount of mistakes goes to the front." BRETT BODINE -11- Paychex Taurus -- "We've got to make some changes, and we've got to run faster. I don't know what to tell you. We've run three times, and run the same speed all three times. We've just got to make changes."
JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "We had us a good lap. It just jumped out of third on me and messed up. It was just one of those deals. You see it happen a lot today. A lot of people had trouble, and we did too. Other than that, it was pretty good."
BORIS SAID -14- Federated Auto Parts Taurus -- "I'm depressed really. I felt like a little kid at Christmas after we ran the first two laps. We've lost two motors in four laps. About halfway through the lap it felt like it started to tighten up and when I was coming out seven it didn't feel right. I just was hell-bent on going to the end. It's unfortunate. We must have something wrong that's causing the motors to blow. We'll figure it out and get this Ford Taurus back together. We're lucky we've got Federated Auto Parts as a sponsor so we've got plenty of parts. We'll get it back together."
KEVIN LEPAGE -16- TV Guide Taurus -- "It was very disappointing. I let the guys down. It was a brand new racecar especially built for the road course, and I just didn't drive it. This is my second time here, but I only ran a few laps last year in practice. I just need seat time to become a road course driver. We're going to race all day Sunday. We're going to get some experience here and come back next year and know what Sears Point wants."
JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- HOW DID YOU DO THAT? "I really concentrated on being smooth. I watched Jerry Nadeau run. The guys said be smooth. Be smooth and trust the car, and I did. I can't believe we run that fast. I guess it was just not being too aggressive and hitting all the corners right. They built a new car. I can't thank Donnie (Wingo) and the guys enough. You know we've been having a tough year. This is unexpected. Now we just hope we can get a top-ten out of this deal. You can run a lap here, and say to yourself, that was a good lap. I personally thought it was about a 12.50, and it's a second quicker. It just goes to show you have to hit all the braking points right. Believe me, I'm still not road racer." DOES THIS MAKE A DIFFERENCE AS FAR AS YOU MENTAL ATTITUDE TOWARD THE RACE? "Mentally. I never thought about that. I don't like road racing, and I think a lot of it is mentally. It's more mentally than anything. Yeah, I think it gives us a better attitude going into Sunday's race. There no question about it. We should start in the top-fifteen cars now if everything goes right. We hoped to be in the top 25, and I think that's important. The attitude now will be to work on race set-ups and get the driver comfortable. And I know we can run fast. Now we just have to be able to do it for each gas run. I think we'll approach it whole lot different that we would have two or three days ago."
KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "It was okay. It was a lot better than what we practiced at. I just kept telling myself, hit the line, don't miss a shift. Do everything right and I thought we could run a decent lap. That's probably a lot better than what I thought we could run. So I'll take it. We kind of struggled in the first practice. We changed the rearend around. We were just not getting the forward bite that we wanted. We made some changes for qualifying, and obviously they were the right ones. We picked up over a half a second, and that's pretty big here."
BUTCH GILLILAND -38- Ralphs/Food4Less/Coca-Cola Taurus -- "The lap was okay. We didn't get a really good lap with the qualifying tires in practice because of traffic. I didn't know what to expect, and I got a little sideways a couple of times. I wanted to get in the top 25, so I'm a little disappointed. But I think we'll be fine for the race."
DARRELL WALTRIP -66- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- "They started off telling me, you've just got to pick up a second from practice. And then it wasn't very long, I was watching it on TV, and they come in and said really to be good, you're going to have to pick up two seconds, and I said now wait a minute. It was a great effort for us. We've struggled so much. This car has never been raced. It's been run a few times, but it's never been raced. It's been tested by several different drivers on several different courses. We've fixed brakes. We've fixed the carburetor. Everything seemed to be going wrong. We just never got a quality lap in. A 13 - something was my best lap. I'm just really, really happy with that. That's a great effort on everybody's part, the car, crew, driver. They stepped up when they had to. ARE THINGS STARTING TO GEL WITH THE TWO TEAMS? YOU AND JIMMY (SPENCER) BOTH HAD GOOD LAPS. "We are learning how to work together. In the beginning of the year, with me changing people and different crew chiefs and things, we had no communication between the two teams. They were doing their thing, and the people on my car were doing my thing. The last few weeks since Derrick Finley and Phillipe have gotten there, they understand the principle of two cars coming from the one car, and working with Earnhardt. They understand you have to share information. You've got to tell each other what you're doing They're starting to have meetings. At Pocono I was really, really good and Jimmy was terrible. They worked on his car after qualifying, and on Sunday you see how he run, so this two-car effort will eventually bear fruit. It was just a little slow coming, but it takes time for everybody to learn how to use the system."
TED MUSGRAVE -75- Remington Arms Taurus -- "Its always difficult being one of the first guys going out there. You get the racetrack cleaned up for the rest of these cats. It was a little bit quicker than we practiced. I think we ran a 6 something in practice, so a 40 was better. As long as it makes it in the top 25, that's all I want to do right now. And then get down to business like we usually do in the race."
ROBERT PRESSLEY -77- Jasper Engines & Transmissions Taurus -- "That about what we run in practice and about all we can do on this road course. Most of its just driver, just ain't up to par on these road courses."
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "We made some changes before qualifying. They were totally the wrong way. It was just the chance that you take. It backfired on us this time.
BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Taurus -- "These guys are making me look good. I believe I'll keep them. That really surprised me. There were a couple places I thought we give up a little bit. Still we got the course. Just like everybody's talking. If you can make the minimum amount of mistakes, and go as fast as you can, then you've had a good day." IT SEEMS LIKE THE TEAM IS REALLY IMPROVING. "Yeah, if we can just get our race stuff better. We had a problem last week at Pocono. We had a little motor problem. If we can just get a few monkeys off our back. We 're a good race team, and I think we can show it."
JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "I liked that lap. We had run a 50 in practice, but that was on two-lap tires, and when I went to run my sticker run I got into some traffic, and we didn't run fast. So that's a half a second quicker than we had run. So we're pretty happy with that lap. That'll get us a decent starting spot. We'll take that." THIS IS THE CAR YOU RAN HERE LAST YEAR? "We ran this car here and at Watkins Glen. We tested at Watkins Glen last year with two cars, and this is the car we liked the best for sure."